11 July 2003

The New Boat House

11 July 2003

The weather is still very hot and sunny.

Celia’s team of helpers have to be sure that the water bottles are kept filled and nobody dehydrates. All that heat and sawdust makes everyone dry and tired. But the work goes on and curious visitors keep arriving to to view the spectacle.

Abingdon Boat House   Abingdon Boat House
The main attraction for visitors today was the staircase, seen here being assembled with all its hand turned spindles.   Ivor Juggins and his wife watch Brian Easthoe as he carves one of the many sponsored beams. Ivor is an OA who rowed in the 1st IV in 1950. (For rowing enthusiasts, VIIIs were only introduced in Abingdon in 1957)
Abingdon Boat House   Abingdon Boat House
     
Abingdon Boat House   Abingdon Boat House
The work team gather for a briefing for the raising day tomorrow (Saturday).  
 
Meanwhile, down at the river, Grig Mullen (left) and Gordon (right in green) unwrap the Gin Pole and prepare to set it up on the concrete slab. The pole is 14m high and is fixed by anchor points buried 6 feet underground. Watch out for Gordon, you’ll see him later at the top of that pole. Ropes and pulleys attached to the pole will be used to raise the timberframes into position.
Abingdon Boat House   Abingdon Boat House
 
By now the four frames being prepared at the cutting site have been assembled horizontally, across trestles, checked for “fit” then taken apart. Each part of each frame is labelled prior to shipping down to Wilsham road where they will be assembled again and raised vertically into place. Say it quickly and it all sounds very easy. BUT, remember each part of each frame is unique and the jigsaw is extremely intricate. It is interesting to hear that some visitors are surprised when they realise just how “hand made” all of this work is. Many thought that the timbers would be prefabricated by machines and shipped over to the site. Not so. Each piece of timber is individually hand sawn and chiselled. This is a real labour of love.
Abingdon Boat House   Abingdon Boat House

Photos: © Russell Ley 2003

See more of the latest news